Norse Mythology A To Z
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Book: Norse Mythology A To Z by Kathleen Daly

"Norse Mythology A to Z, Third Edition" examines the characters, objects, and places whose stories make up the folklore of the Norse people, who lived in the region known today as Scandinavia. Passed down through the generations by word of mouth and finally written down in the 13th century and later, these myths include tales of gods and goddesses; heroes, giants, and dwarfs; and serpents and dragons that inhabit enchanted realms. This colorful volume brings to life many of these Nordic myths. Entries of this title include: the most famous gods and goddesses, such as Odin, Thor, and Freya; plants and animals important to Norse mythology, such as the oak tree and the eagle; stories and poems, such as "Treasures of the Dwarfs" and the "Poetic Edda"; and, much more.

The term mythology can refer to either the study of myths or a body of myths. For example, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece.

The term "myth" is often used colloquially to refer to a false story; however, the academic use of the term generally does not pass judgment on its truth or falsity. In the study of folklore, a myth is a symbolic narrative explaining how the world and humankind came to be in their present form. Many scholars in other fields use the term "myth" in somewhat different ways. In a very broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story

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What Does Asatru Teach About An Afterlife
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We believe that there is an afterlife, and that those who have lived virtuous lives will go on to experience greater fulfillment, pleasure, and challenge. Those who have led lives characterized more by vice than by virtue will be separated from kin and doomed to an existence of dullness and gloom. The precise nature of the afterlife - what it will look like and feel like - is beyond our understanding and is dealt with symbolically in the myths.

There is also a tradition in Asatru of rebirth within the family line. Perhaps the individual is able to choose whether or not he or she is re-manifested in this world, or there may be natural laws which govern this. In a sense, of course, we all live on in our descendents quite apart from an afterlife as such.

We of Asatru do not overly concern ourselves with the next life. We live here and now, in this life. If we do this and do it well, the next life will take care of itself.

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Asatru Faq Part 4
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What About These Gods and Goddesses? Are They Real?

Yes, they are real. However, just as most Christians do not think their God is really an old bearded figure sitting on a golden chair in heaven, we do not believe Thor (for example) is actually a muscular, man-shaped entity carrying a big hammer. There is a real Thor, but we approach an understanding of him through this particular mental picture.

Do followers of Asatru Pray to Their Gods and Goddesses?

Yes, but not quite the way most people mean by the word. We never surrender our will to theirs or humble ourselves before them, because we see ourselves as their kin, not as inferior, submissive pawns. Nor do we beg and plead. We commune with them and honor them while seeking their blessing through formal rites and informal meditation. Living a full and virtuous live is a form of prayer in itself. Our religion affects all parts of our lives, not just those fragments that we choose to call "religious".

Don't You Worship Stones and Trees and Idols?

No. These objects are not Gods, so we don't worship them. We do sometimes use these items as reminders of a God or Goddess, and we believe they can become "charged" with a certain aspect of the divine energy, but we would never confuse them with the actual deities.

What are the Standards of Behavior Taugt in Asatru?

Some of the qualities we hold in high regard are strength, courage, joy, honor, freedom, loyalty to kin, realism, vigor, and the revering of our ancestors. To express these things in our lives is virtuous, and we strive to do this. Their opposites - weakness, cowardice, adherence to dogma rather than to the realities of the world, and the like - constitute vices and are to be avoided. Proper behavior in Asatru consists of maximizing one's virtues and minimizing one's vices. This code of conduct reflects the highest and most heroic ideals of our people.

Don't all Religions Believe in These Things You've Just Named?

No. People may honestly believe that this is the case, but examination does not bear this out. They believe in freedom, yet their scriptures say they are slaves to their God. They accept that joy is good, but their teachings laden them with guilt because of some imaginary "original sin". Their instinct is to understand Nature's world from verifiable evidence, yet they are trained to believe black is white, round is flat, and natural instincts are evil without question when the teachings of their church conflict with reason or with known facts.

Many of us instinctively believe in the values of Asatru because they have been passed down to us from our ancestors. We want to believe that other religions espouse those values, so we see what we want to see. Most people just haven't yet realized that the major religions are saying things that conflict with the values we know in our hearts are right. To find northern European virtues, one should look where those virtues have their natural home - Asatru.

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Miac - Asatru And Odinism
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Anonymous - Asatru And The Paranormal

Ways Of The Asatru
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Book: Ways Of The Asatru by Michael Smith

There are two issues which I would like to bring to the reader's attention concerning this book. The first would be that this book should not, by any means, be considered an absolute authority on Asatru. The reader is encouraged to read other books, do research, and explore their own hearts to find their own religious and spiritual truths. The main reason for that would be because of the second issue I have to briefly make note of.

The second would be that regardless of all, Asatru is chiefly a religion of the individuals' spiritual path. Although there is a strong sense of community that is encouraged, it is up to the individual to find what rings true to them for their own spiritual health. Asatru itself is a religion of fairly broad guidelines. It is up to the individual to decide where within those broad guidelines they lay in what they believe.

So please, dear reader, I will be bold in giving you a set of "rules" for those who decide to research or become Asatru. Rule # 1 is: Be your own scholar. Asatru is a religion with homework. This extends to not just contemporary writers but, to authors in the fields of linguistics, history, archeology, and other scholarly fields of study. All can help you in your spiritual quest. Rule # 2 is: Always get different perspectives. This is a religion that has its roots in the past, but is (and must be!) evolved within modern context. And it must and will evolve as the future unfolds.

This book has been screaming to come out of my head for quite some time. Folks over the years have asked me, "Why don't you write a book or something?" My response was usually a humorous, "Don't you think I drive enough Asatru folks nuts already?" Then I started thinking about it more seriously as my 12th anniversary of becoming Asatru came closer, and figured it was time to unleash my brain upon the masses. I only hope it helps some folks on their travels. As I know, just writing it has helped my own. Also, the fact that every time there’s a good beginner book out, it goes out-of-print. This way, by self-publishing, it won’t go out-of-print.

Lastly, I'd like to thank the folks who kept pushing me to do it and whom I've found their friendships and debates helpful. I'd like to thank all of Raven Kindred North, Vingolf Fellowship, Medoburg Kindred, Tim McKinney (co-founder of Athelingulf Fellowship), and the countless individual Asatru folks who I've harassed, infuriated, and got into huge debates with over countless thoughts, theories, and beliefs. Without challenge, the mind never evolves and grows.

But most of all, I want to thank my beautiful wife, Catheryn, my precious daughter, Freyjadis, and my strong son, Tiarnan, for being my highest inspirations. - With Honor, Michael J. Smith

Download Michael Smith's eBook: Ways Of The Asatru

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Stav Runes Notebook A Beginners Guide
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Book: Stav Runes Notebook A Beginners Guide by Alex Pidd

This guide is designed to provide an introduction to Stav and the runes of the younger futhork. Stav is a European mind, body and spirit training philosophy. It is based on the traditions of the Hafskjold family, which have been preserved in a continuous line for over 44 generations. Advice and assistance on the study of Stav can be obtained from Einherjar Ve Stav.

Although not essential in order to gain the most from guide some previous understanding of the runes and Stav will be beneficial. This information can be found on-line at the Einherjar Ve Stav site. It is impossible to produce a definitive book detailing all the associations, symbolism and interpretations of the runes. This may appear a contradiction as you are reading this book. However, this work is designed to start the reader onto further studies and investigation. The runes, as discovered in the web (see page 1), can be said to be part of the fabric of reality. As such they are part of everything. This means they also change as our reality, or our understanding of it, changes. This is why a book cannot begin to encapsulate the true depth of knowledge held within the runes. Only the mind has any chance of unravelling the mysteries that the runes hold, hopefully inspired and aided by the clues and general hints found in this tome.

Because of the nature of the runes this guide is therefore deliberately not definitive or absolute in its description and meaning of the runes. This is because the study of Stav involves personal interpretation and analysis. These are modified as new experiences are gained and conflicts become resolved. You will find your own comments may agree or contradict those already contained within these pages. The same rune may be interpreted slightly differently by different people or even the same person at different times and with different problems or circumstances to resolve. You may find some of the comments and observations on the runes as terse, direct and with little explanation. This is deliberate as an attempt has been made to record only the main salient points and keywords for each rune. The descriptions of the rune meanings are only a snapshot of the author's thoughts at the time of writing; they should not be taken too literally or as a definitive guide. These are only hints and reminders; there are doubtless many other meanings and interpretations that are not included in these pages. The points and keywords that are included are intended to be used as hooks onto which further expanded explanations and details can be hung. It is expected these will be given by yourself and drawn from your own experiences and relating to the problem(s) in hand. There are no absolute answers when dealing with the meanings of the runes; there are only degrees of perception.

It is hoped that you will use this guide to augment your own personal knowledge of the runes based on your own experiences. This is not a how-to-do-it-book and it will not teach all the answers about Stav and the runes. That can only be achieved by patient study of the runes and the myths. However, this guide will hopefully help to form a useful stepping stone for continued studies and learning. By combining this guide with other texts, the runes and your own notes it will become an invaluable tool in the quest for knowledge and wisdom.

Download Alex Pidd's eBook: Stav Runes Notebook A Beginners Guide

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Exploring The Northern Tradition
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Book: Exploring The Northern Tradition by Galina Krasskova

Exploring the Northern Tradition is an overview of the modern reconstruction of the ancient religion of the Germanic and Scandinavian peoples. This religion, called Heathenry, is one of the fastest growing polytheistic religious movements in the United States today with over forty thousand adherents. This book provides a thorough guide to the cosmology, values, ethics, and rituals practiced by modern Heathens.

Readers will have the opportunity to explore the sacred stories of the various Heathen Gods like Odin, Frigga, Freya, and Thor and will be granted a look into the devotional practices of modern votaries. The most common devotional rite: the faining or blot is examined in rich detail with examples given for personal use. Additionally, readers are introduced to the concept of wyrd or fate, so integral to the Heathen worldview.

Unlike many books on Heathenry, Exploring the Northern Tradition is not denomination specific, nor does it seek to overwhelm the reader with unfamiliar Anglo-Saxon or Norse terminology. For those new to Heathenry, Pagans who wish to learn more about the Norse Deities, or those simply interested in learning about this unique religion, this book is the perfect introduction.

There was a time when all of Northern Europe followed a common faith. The people shared a belief in the same Gods, common ethics and common values. A small portion of these beliefs and values have been passed down to us in the Eddas, Sagas and other history. In modern times there are those who still follow the old ways. All modern Heathens (those who follow the Northern Tradition) share a common theology, a common set of core values and a common documented history going back 1000+ years.

In Exploring The Northern Tradition, Galina Krasskova has captured the essence of this theology, values and history in a book that is both highly informative and at the same time enjoyable to just sit and read.

After a brief look at the history of the Northern Tradition, Galina Krasskova introduces us to what might be considered the three major branches of modern Heathenry: the Tribalist, the Universalist, and the Folkish Heathen. We are then introduced to the Theodish Belief ~ a form of Tribal Heathenry, bound together by a "web-of-oaths". Here we see tribal bonds formed between men of varying social status by means of sacred oaths. It is also pointed out that while all Theods are Tribalists, not all Tribalists hold fast to the Theodish Belief.

Galina Krasskova next introduces us to the Cosmology of the Northern Tradition. From Ginungagap to Yggdrasil; and each of the nine worlds, from Midgard to Asgard, to Helheim. We learn the structure of the Universe as it is understood by those who follow the Northern Tradition.

As we continue Exploring The Northern Tradition, Galina Krasskova introduces us to the Gods and Goddesses of our ancestors, of our blood and of the Northern People. But here we have much more than a list of the Gods. For each of the Gods and Goddesses we are offered an invocation as well as their history and stories of their deeds. Consisting of about one-third of the book, this section gives the reader the opportunity to know the Gods and Goddesses that still call to us, even today.

After meeting the Gods of our ancestors we are introduced to concepts unique to the Northern Tradition. Galina Krasskova explains the concept of Wyrd and the Soul Matrix. Heathern ethics and values are explained, giving us an introduction to the Nine Noble Virtues and the 12 AEtheling Thews.

Finally, Exploring The Northern Tradition closes with chapters on the Blot, Symbel, and Personal Devotions.

I found Exploring The Northern Tradition to be well-written, properly researched, informative and enjoyable to read. If you have never experienced the Northern Tradition, here is a guide to let you begin your exploration. If you set sail toward the Northern Star many years ago, Exploring The Northern Tradition will be a reminder of old friends, of the call of the Gods and of the honor and virtues of the people of the Northern Lands.

Galina Krasskova draws on her own 12 years of experience as a Heathen priest. She is currently Aeweweard in Thaet Angelseaxisce Ealdriht, a member of The Troth, and has also studied interfaith ministry in NYC. Galina cofounded the New York Metro Asatru Society in October of 2000. She is a frequent contributor to such respected Pagan and Heathen magazines as Sagewoman, New Witch, Idunna, The Ealdriht Boc, and Marklander.

Highly Recommended !

Find Galina Krasskova's book in amazon.com:
Exploring The Northern Tradition

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Viking Attacks On Europe Were Self Defence Scholar Writes
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A new theory about what drove the Vikings to raid Western Europe in the late eight and ninth centuries has been published. It suggests that the Vikings in Denmark were reacting to a threat from the Carolingian ruler Charlemagne, who was seeking to destroy their society and impose Christianity on them.

The theory was put forward by Robert Ferguson in an article for the December 2009 issue of BBC History Magazine. His book, The Hammer and the Cross: A New History of the Vikings, was also published in November.

Starting in the 790s, Viking ships began raiding throughout Western Europe and the British Isles, often targeting monasteries. Ferguson points out that peaceful contacts between the Norse peoples and Christian societies, such as trading with each other. He therefore asks why did the Viking attacks begin when they did?

But with the accession of Charlemagne in 771, the Carolingians began to implement a new program of converting their pagan and neighbors and promoting Christianity. Charlemagne launched numerous invasions of the Saxon peoples led by Widukind.

In a podcast interview, Ferguson adds the goals of Charlemagne were to force the Saxons "to abandon their culture, political system, beliefs and everything, and make them part Christians and part of his empire."

Ferguson notes an episode of "ethnic-cleansing:" when, in 782, Charlemangne's armies forcibly baptised and then executed 4,500 Saxon captives at Verden, a town close to Denmark. The Danes would have been well aware of what was happening with the Saxons anyways, as Widukind was married to sister of the Danish king, Sigfrid, and often took refuge in Denmark to escape the Carolingians.

Considering the situation, Ferguson writes, "Should the Vikings simply wait for Charlemagne's armies to arrive and set about the task? Or should they fight to defend their culture?"

But the Norse could not fight the Carolingian military directly - instead they went after soft-targets, such as monasteries, which were symbols of the growing Christian encroachment. Ferguson says, "everything points to a hatred that goes beyond just robbers who just wanted money."

The article goes on to describe these early Viking attacks, and how their raids expanded throughout Europe, with Viking kingdoms developing on the British Isles and elsewhere.

Several other explanations have been put forward for Viking violence, such as innovations in shipbuilding which encouraged piracy, and overpopulation in Scandinavia, which forced many of its people to leave their homeland in search of fortune.

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Lincoln Order Of Neuromancers - Apikorsus An Essay On The Diverse Practices Of Chaos Magick
Scott Cunningham - Wicca A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner
Scott Cunningham - Living Wicca A Further Guide For The Solitary Practitioner

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Anglo Saxon Heathendom And Icelandic Asatru
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Book: Anglo Saxon Heathendom And Icelandic Asatru by Eric Wodening

The ancient Germanic peoples essentially followed the same religion. Nearly all of them appear to have worshipped the major gods known to us from Norse mythology - Odinn, PorR, FreyR, and so on. They also believed in many of the same "spirits" or wights--elves dwarves, thurses, and so on. They held various festivals, rituals, and customs in common. This is not to say that there were not differences among the tribes in their religious customs and beliefs. There was always some variation in religious practices and beliefs among the Germanic peoples.

Perhaps the best demonstration of both the similarities and the differences which sometimes existed in the religious beliefs of the Germanic peoples would be to examine the respective beliefs of the Anglo-Saxon and Icelandic heathen.

It must be noted right away that the ancient Germanic peoples lacked a name for their religion or its branches. An ancient Anglo-Saxon heathen if asked about his religion would probably have referred to it simply as min beodisc gelefa, "my tribe's belief." The Icelanders may have responded along similar lines, although today this ancient and modern branch of the Germanic heathen religion is called "Asatru." For simplicity's sake, we will use "Anglo-Saxon heathendom" and "Asatru" for the faiths of the ancient Anglo-Saxons and Icelanders respectively..

Download Eric Wodening's eBook: Anglo Saxon Heathendom And Icelandic Asatru

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Asatru Religion Of The Minds
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As in all organized religions, there are issues in Asatru where not all of the practitioners are of one mind. Sadly, one of the most contentious issues in Asatru revolves around how open the religion is to people who are not of Northern European/Teutonic racial and/or cultural heritage. Not surprisingly, this is an issue that is very emotionally charged, and it is often difficult to conduct civil discussions on the various positions that are held. To try and remove some of the overt emotionalism that often accompanies this topic, and to try to help clarify what the range of viewpoints are, I have created a fairly basic scale that provides summaries of the most common viewpoints I have encountered or been otherwise made aware of. I would like to thank Doug from Texas who has provided assistance in editing and refining this scale. The descriptions are written from the perspective of one who holds that viewpoint. It should be noted that at the furthest ends of the scale, the beliefs held may come across as more extreme, and I have tried to indicate this without belittling the holder of the viewpoint or the holder itself. I have also tried to eliminate as much inflammatory language as possible, and to avoid implying any judgments or personal feelings I may have about any particular viewpoint.

Inclusion of a viewpoint on this scale does not mean that it is in any way generally accepted as a "valid" viewpoint by the Asatru community in general, only that there are people who call themselves Asatru and hold that particular viewpoint.

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Chantepie De La Saussaye - The Religion Of The Teutons

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The Role Of The Gothar In The Asatru Community
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The old norse word "Gothar" is the plural form of Gothi or Gythia. The Gothar are the collective priesthood of the Asatru Community. Proper pronunciation in Old Norse is: Gothar (go-thar). It literally means: those who speak the godly tongue.

We know from many surviving ancient accounts that the Gothar played a pivotal role in the founding of Iceland and the development there of a system of government known as the Godic Republic. This ancient method of self government was known as the AlThing. At the AlThing the Gothar of the 36 districts of Iceland met annually to read the Law, settle disputes among the Folk, and mete justice to law breakers.

This concept of self rule has been practiced since antiquity by the people of the North. We will deal in greater detail in a future article titled "The AlThing", but here we will discuss the role of the Gothar in the contemporary Asatru Community.

In ancient times, as we know from the writings of Tacitus in The Agricola and The Germania, the Teutons worshipped their Gods and Goddesses in holy groves and by sacred springs and rivers. Tribal priests and priestesses presided in these matters. We learn from Adam of Bremen of the great Temple of Uppsala, where great public Blots were held, again presided over by the Temple Priests. There are also numerous Saga accounts of the Hofs maintained by the priests for public worship in Norway and Iceland.

From all of this we learn that there were people who specialized in conducting public worship of the Gods and Goddesses. They were also responsible for establishing Hofs and Temples, and maintained the equipment and furnishings necessary to conduct Blots and other religious services. In the days of the Godic Republic, the Gothar was also responsible for the civil administration of the country as well.

In modern times, as the Asatru Community struggles to reassert itself as the true religion of the Folk, the work of the Gothar is difficult indeed. Not only is it his or her duty to conduct the Blots, maintain the Hofs and sacred groves and provide the ritual equipment, but he or she must also seek out those within our Folk worthy to practice the old ways, and to reawaken the Ancestral Soul of our people, which is weak and near death after a thousand years of Christian pollution.

The true Gothar of the modern era must be a fearless spiritual warrior, a fervent Asatru missionary. They must be as wise as the AllFather, as strong as Asa Thorr, and as loving as the Lady Freya, if they are to succeed in their chosen profession. In short, only the bravest, wisest, and most loving of our Folk can ever aspire to the position of Gothi or Gythia. Nothing less than total dedication and personal sacrifice to our cause will do. Anything less will result in failure. If you are a dabbler in the Northern mysteries, a crystal poking Norse Wiccan, or someone who lives in a fantasy world, please go far away and do everyone a favor. For the rest of you who have a sincere desire, a burning will, and a constitution of iron, we will proceed. In Vor Tru No. 52 not only did we discuss the significance of the Blot, we examined the actual mechanics for performing public sacrifice, and we discussed also the part that the Gothi and Gythia played in such religious services of the Folk. I urged all who have the desire to perform Blots to do so whether privately at home with the family, or publicly in the sacred places with the Kindred. The person who performs the Blot, is at that place and time a Gothi. However, it is what you do for the Folk after the Blot which determines whether you are indeed a member of the Gothar, one who has earned the respect of the Asatru Community as a tireless and fearless spiritual leader of the Folk, and one who constantly strives to improve himself through constant study and practice of the lore of our people. Indeed, are you one who has earned the respect and admiration of the Folk because of your tireless efforts in their behalf?

At this point, let's assume that you aspire to become one of the Gothar. Where do you begin? I will start by saying that I have known more than a few who wished to become a Gothi. My best advice at this time is to urge them to find a recognized Gothi, and somehow convince the Priest of the Folk to become his apprentice. You must realize at this point in time that many may choose to walk this path, but by the process of natural selection, few will attain their goal. If you find a Gothi to aid you in your studies, you are fortunate to have that aid in your quest. If you personally don't know anyone of the Gothar, don't despair. You can teach yourself. THEY DID!

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Aleister Crowley - Stepping Out Of The Old Aeon Into The New
Alexander Mackenzie - The Prophecies Of The Brahan Seer
Michal Jerabek - The Book Of Enoch Vol Iii The Asatronomical Book

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